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Report: Microsoft In Talks To Buy Social Dev Crowdstar

Microsoft is one of multiple companies considering acquiring social game developer CrowdStar, creator of Happy Aquarium and Happy Island, according to reports that emerged today.
Microsoft is one of multiple companies considering acquiring social game developer CrowdStar, creator of Happy Aquarium and Happy Island, according to reports that emerged today. Citing anonymous sources said to be close to the matter, Bloomberg reports CrowdStar has not yet decided to pursue an acquisition; the privately-held company may instead look to obtain more non-controlling venture capital investment. Burlingame, California-based CrowdStar is one of the most popular application developers on Facebook, with tracking site AppData listing it as having the fourth-highest monthly active user count, just after Facebook itself -- and just ahead of Electronic Arts, which recently acquired rival social developer Playfish. CrowdStar has seen extremely rapid growth. It is a younger company than any of the other top six Facebook developers, having been founded in 2008 and only having publicly emerged from "stealth mode" last November. EA acquired Playfish for $300 million to $400 million, depending on performance milestones; Bloomberg reports CrowdStar is valued in the $200 million neighborhood. Microsoft has operated an online casual gaming portal, now known as MSN Games, since 1996. It has evolved to serve various purposes; at times it included matchmaking features for a number of core games. Most recently, Microsoft signaled its intention to introduce social gaming to MSN Games by partnering with Zynga, the number one Facebook game developer, to host FarmVille

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